August 17, 2009
Monday 17th August. Left at 0600. Wind was SW so that scuppered my plan to go the Glenarm (NI) as this would mean motoring straight into the wind for 30 miles or so. Aimed for Portpatrick (Mull of Galloway, Scotland) instead as this allowed us to sail close hauled on a fetch-cum-reach in around 15/ 18 knots of wind at a consistent 6 knots or so through the water. Over the ground was a different matter, the tide was not favourable. Neither was the sea state to Jan’s taste. Lumpy and ‘orrible having been whipped up into a frenzy by several days of strongish wind. Truth is we both felt slightly sea-sick most of the day.
Arrived Portpatrick at 1445 which (being an hour before LW) was not good. We got in with about a metre under the keel to spare, giving half-tide rock an offing of about a metre too! Rafted up by 15.00 hrs. Hot and sunny in the inner harbour late afternoon but a bit like being in a goldfish bowl cum submarine pen. I had to blow up the dinghy to take Oscar ashore rather than haul him up the 30ft plus of iron ladder.
August 15, 2009
Saturday 15th August. Weather as above initially but it stopped raining at 0900 and really was quite nice after that by recent standards. Wind however remains strong.
Sunday 16th August. Still in Campbeltown, still blowing old boots. Strong wind warnings aplenty. Better forecast tomorrow
August 14, 2009
Friday 14th August. Campbeltown
Weather forecast said it would blow strongly from the S, and it did. Up to F 6/7 probably. Up to F8/ 9 according to one of the 2 yachts that limped in today. Whenever a sailor quotes a wind strength it’s wise to deduct 2 to get the real picture. We recorded 25 knots in the harbour so I can believe it was truly horrid
And rain. Gallons and gallons of it all day. Proper Scottish stuff. Dour, serious, unrelenting. It was so heavy that we now have no dog hair in the cockpit. All washed away. Oscar hair is still however everywhere else. At least one is guaranteed in every cup or on every plate!!
My third visit here in 10 years and I have never seen the sun shine.
Forecast for tomorrow is worse (how can it be worse?). Resorted to G&T by 1600 hrs!!
August 13, 2009
Thursday 13th August.
Fine day. Smooth sea initially. When the wind did spring up it was W and bang on the nose, so we motored all the way along the S coast of Arran and across Kilbrannan Sound. Good views of the mountains of Arran , the coast and surrounding islands. It crossed my mind part way there to make best use of the wind direction and head for Glenarm, NI, 30 miles or so distant. This as overruled by committee, Oscar having the casting vote. As it turned out it would have been one of my few good ideas. On pontoon Campbeltown 1615. Chinese restaurant 1930
August 12, 2009
Wednesday 12th August.
Early start by our recent standards (0900). Reach then fetch down E coast of Bute then across Bute Sound to Arran. Wind SW up to 20 knots. Roughish in the Sound. Rain today was in spectacular heavy showers that needed the use of our radar at times as visibility was reduced to a few hundred yards and we were for a time in the main shipping lane into the Clyde. Visitors mooring by 1330. Cleared up! Sunny! Stunning scenery and lovely village
August 11, 2009
Tuesday 11th August. Left 11.20 in persistent rain. Another shock!
Explored Loch Riddon. Sailed through the Burnt Isles. Navigable channel here is very narrow but well marked. Seems about 10ft wide but probably more!!
Motored down East Kyle and sailed for a short period close hauled in S. 16 knots off Ardbeg Point into Rothesay Bay. No response from the harbourmaster at Rothesay to my radio calls. We should have taken the hint and gone to Millport, Great Cumbrae which was our alternative destination. On pontoons Rothesay by 1430. Rothesay is mostly Victorian and it seems it’s all been downhill since then. It’s a pity because the rest of Bute looks superb.
August 10, 2009
Monday 10th August. ELT to Tighnabruaich. West Kyle
Rain all morning. There’s a shock. Cleared up by 1130 so we set off then. Some sailors sail according to tides. Jan likes to stay as dry as possible.
No wind until a light NW set in at 1200. Broad reach from ELT to Ardlamont Point in gradually increasing breeze. Fetch then beat into West Kyle. Up to 21 knots of wind and 6.5 knots through the water. Very, very good sailing (helmed by Jan!) in superb surroundings. Dropped sails off Tighnabruaich village and fruitlessly searched for a visitors mooring. None (well, not if you’re English). Picked up a vacant mooring off the boatyard at Rubha Ban 1630. Hope the owner doesn’t return till late tomorrow!!
August 09, 2009
Sunday 9th August Crinan Canal to East Loch Tarbert (ELT).
0850 we were up and heading for the next lock when we were overtaken by the first of today’s crop of the WHCWHTW/ Duberry boots brigade. We then had to re-rig everything from starboard to port. My loud suggestion that they were born out of wedlock was heard but not commented upon. Out of sealock at 10.15. No wind. Fished. Caught 5 mackeral. One escaped. Let one go (too small). Ate the others. S/SE breeze 1045. Good beat eventually in variable 10-18 knots. Up to 6.5 knots. On pontoon at ELT 1400 hrs. Oscar the unpopular dog managed to fall in the water trying to get from pontoon to Soay. I rescued him by grabbing his ear as he drifted under the pontoon. More sadly our faithful crew member Basil Plant was laid to rest today having served us well for 4 weeks (mostly with chicken). He was replaced immediately with Basil 2 from the Co-op
August 08, 2009
Saturday 8th August. Rain, rain and more rain all morning. We took our place in the lock queue at 0850 to the obvious distaste of the following “pack” who suggested we tie up to a pontoon and let them past. We didn’t, but we did actually catch up with another lone traveller and worked our way through most of the remaining locks with them, keeping the pack behind us. The other boat was (I think) a South Coast One Design that the owner (a boat-builder) had bought for £1 and restored, beautifully. We parted company at Cairnbaan where Jan insisted we had lunch. Took us ‘till 1530 to doze off “lunch” and move on. We’re spending the night above Lock 3 in Ardrishaig itself. Apart from the pests, the Crinan is magnificent and a credit to BWB.
August 07, 2009
Friday 7th August. Ardfern to Crinan Canal. This was supposed to be Ardfern to Tayvallich and the Fairy Isles but as there was no wind and an unfavourable strong tide we made for Crinan. This decision was made after much vacillation from me who as usual once I changed my mind, continued to do so and actually led to me driving Soay round in circles for a few minutes!!
This (the Crinan Canal) could have been £90.16 well spent were it not for the midges (now found us!!) and the returning yachts from the White Heather Club West Highland Terrier Week. We spent the night above Lock 11. We went through most of the locks alone pursued by aggressive packs of WHCWHTW yachts who presumably saw us as a bar to their “progress”